How to garden like a life-hacking pro: 8 cool DIY tips for better gardening

Life hacks may be the single greatest contribution the Internet has given the world.

OK, maybe that was a slight exaggeration but finding new, interesting ways to tackle everyday tasks is fantastic. As the weather heats up, many people are itching to get back out in the garden — and thanks to creative web users, having a green thumb may be easier than ever.

Use a wine bottle to water plants

Springtime not only means time for yard work but also for entertaining friends and family outside. If empty wine bottles are piling up after an outdoor dinner party, gardening blog The Greenists recommends using them to help water thirsty plants. Simply fill the bottle with water then quickly flip the bottle and push the open end into the soil. The writers say this works best for plants that get a lot of sun, including patio plants.

Use old coffee grounds as mulch

This tip comes from the experts at HGTV. Apparently, used coffee grounds can be used to add nutrients to a garden’s soil. So, rather than tossing them in the trash after cleaning out the coffee pot, try taking them out to the plot.

A bar of soap can protect fingernails during weeding

This is not simply a suggestion to wash one’s hands after working in the dirt. Writers at Timber Press recommend gardeners scrape their fingernails across a bar of soap before going outside because the slivers of soap will prevent dirt from building up underneath.

Photo: "Sabonete Dove" via Wikimedia Commons.

Turn a milk jug into a watering can

Possibly the easiest gardening hack on this list. This one offers a great way to recycle and save some cash on utensils. Simply poke holes into the lid of a plastic milk jug and fill with water.

Wash your vegetables in the garden using a laundry basket

The folks at HGTV suggested this tip, which can save valuable time, effort and water. Gardeners can simply toss picked vegetables into a small laundry basket which is kept inside a larger bucket that’s full of water. The slots in the basket make it easy to dip the veggies in the bath and remove them, skipping the sink.

Use a canning jar to test your soil

Before trying to plant a beautiful garden, experts recommend testing the soil that will be used. A method called the Mason jar soil test can take the place of expensive methods. Here’s a detailed rundown of how to do it.

Photo: FiveRings via Wikimedia Creative Commons.

Avoid rusty garden tools by sticking them in sand

Living up to its name, a writer from the Creative Organizing Blog pointed out this hack. Fill an empty flower pot — or similar container — with sand and simply stick garden tools in with the handles sticking out. The experts at HGTV say this will keep them clean and free of rust.

Lazy? Drop potted plants into the garden

It doesn’t get much more effortless than this. Lazy gardeners can dig several holes in their plot big enough to hold potted plants then simply drop them in and sprinkle some mulch around.


Finally, for the non-D.I.Y. crowd, here’s a look at some cool gardening gadgets that are coming soon.

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.

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